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The Importance of Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Research has shown that phonological and phonemic awareness are the #1 predictor of future reading success.  Being phonologically aware prepares children for later reading instruction in phonics, word analysis, and spelling (Adams, Foorman, Lundberg, & Beeler, 1998; Chard, Simmons, & Kameenui, 1998). But what is phonological and phonemic awareness?

phonological awareness

Phonological awareness includes identifying and manipulating pieces of oral language; such as words, syllables, onsets and rimes. Children who have phonological awareness are able to identify and rhyme, clap out the number of syllables in a word, and recognize words with the same initial sounds like 'farm' and 'father.'

Phonemic awareness is the most advanced level of phonological awareness. This is the awareness of individual phonemes, or sounds, in spoken words and the ability to manipulate those sounds.  Phonemic awareness can be done in the dark.  No letters are attached just phonemes.  Phonemes combine to form syllables and words. For example, the word 'sat' has three phonemes: /s/ /a/ /t/. There are 44 phonemes in the English language. 

Phonemic awareness is the foundation for reading.  Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read.

Beginning readers NEED systematic, explicit phonemic awareness instruction.  Children should be given opportunities to apply and develop facility with sounds.  As a matter of fact, phonemic awareness has been found to predict reading success in later grades.  This has to be a primary teacher’s top priority.

Examples of phonemic awareness include:
·      phoneme counting : "How many sounds do you hear in the word cape?"
·      onset: rime manipulation: “Add /k/ to the beginning of at.”
·      syllable awareness: “How many syllables in the word watermelon?”
·      word to word matching:  "Do mat and men begin with the same sound?"
·      rhyming: "Tell me all of the words that you know that rhyme with the word cat?"
·      blending: "What word would we have if we blended these sounds together: /t/ /o/ /p/?"
·      phoneme segmentation: "What sounds do you hear in the word sun?"
·      phoneme deletion: "What word would be left if the /k/ sound were taken away from cap?"
·      phoneme manipulation:  “Say track without the /r/.”

Children from culturally diverse backgrounds may have difficulties with phonemic awareness.  Exposure to language at home, exposure to reading at an early age, and dialect all affect the ability of children to understand the phonological distinctions on which the English language is built. Teachers must apply sensitive effort and use a variety of techniques to help children learn these skills when standard English is not spoken at home (Lyon, 1994).

Students at risk for reading difficulty most often have lower levels of phonological awareness and phonemic awareness than do their classmates. The good news is that phonemic awareness and phonological awareness can be developed through systematic, direct instruction.

Finding curriculum for phonemic awareness is difficult.  There are many products that have bits and pieces of the components of phonemic awareness but teachers don’t want to {or have time to} piecemeal a program. There are resources labeled phonemic awareness and then have letters and words in them.  That’s phonics.   Teachers want to be sure they are teaching effectively and efficiently. 
After spending many months looking for a program, I decided to develop a resource for teachers.  We have been using it successfully in my school for years now.  This program provides 10-15 minutes of daily instruction plus TONS of activities to do as intervention.  Of course, an assessment of all of the components of phonemic awareness is included to allow teachers to target remediation.  

phonological awareness

phonological awareness

phonological awareness

Since this is a bundle, I thought I would give you a sample to check it out.  That way, you know some of the resources included in this 656 page bundle.  You can check it out here.

What I love about this resource is it is all encompassing every aspect of phonological and phonemic awareness is included.  There is daily instruction for the year.  It has Powerpoint slideshows to practice skills and incorporate technology.  There are games.  It has activities with Jenga, dot paint, cones, and play dough.  This resource has words for kindies and words for second graders.  It’s perfect for third graders who need additional support.  It has it all.

phonemic awareness intervention, phonemic awareness centers

phonemic awareness instruction

phonemic awareness instruction

phonemic awareness curriculum, phonemic awareness for first gradephonological awareness

phonemic awareness centers

phonemic awareness games

  Download the freebie and check it out today!  Please let me know what you think!
If you are interested in seeing a lesson in action, check out this blog post.

phonological awareness activities, phonemic awareness games

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